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In this video, Tan Le, president of Emotiv Systems, demos the company’s computer-controller that uses brainwaves, thoughts, to direct actions on a computer. Her test subject is renowned AI researcher Marvin Minsky. The real action starts at 10:35, and I have to admit, it was pretty thrilling to see Marvin rotate that cube with his mind. Their first real-world application is purported to be game controlling.

BTW: The Emotiv headset is shown on their website as being for sale, for $300, but is currently “sold out” and said to be available in May.

Mind Control Device Demonstration – Tan Le

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.



  1. rahere says:

    The developers have a more serious use in mind, if you listen to the presentation: medical uses. Sufferers from various forms of locomotive disfunction of the muscular system such as spasticism, MS and ME have great problems breaking through the barrier of controlling their musculature sufficiently to be able to speak or use some form of human interface device. This may even be usable by the locked-in comatose, if they have sensory input from other media.
    Surely these must have priority in reestablishing their human right to communicate?

  2. hjmiii says:

    “No idea if they’ve actually shipped any yet.”

    I have a developer headset. They’ve been shipping those since October. The first consumer headsets went out in late December. They seem to have a bit of a lag between manufacturing runs. In the fall there were issues with the manufacturing facility being near some pretty devastating cyclone damage in the Philippines. I can’t speculate as to why that is now. It is a brand new product and company fresh out of the R&D phase.

    1. Gareth Branwyn says:

      Entry edited appropriately.

      So, how is the developer kit? The device itself? What can you tell us (without having to kill us)?

  3. rallen says:

    @danmo: May you be struck by the might of the flying Ban-Hammer, thou spammer!

    I think the first I ever heard of this kind of technology was an episode of “The Six-Million Dollar Man” as a kid, and later the movie “Firefox” with Clint Eastwood. In T6M$M, it was just a raw technology, but in the movie it read your thoughts (in Russian) to control the weapon systems. I believe the tech was also in “The Lawnmower Man”.

    So the idea has been around for quite a while, and a few implementations (more bio-feedback peripherals than anything else) have been kicking around for almost as long. This seems to be the first time it’s really made the spot light.